I would love to tell you all the story of the great sailing adventure – but I cant, it isn’t my story to tell – it is Frans story and we will try to get him to write it and share it on a guest slot.
St Helena Island is a magical place. Literally in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, an isolated rock that has a history all of its own. We know Napoleon was locked up here in an amazing mansion high up on the hill, we know Mr Halley spotted his famous comet right here on this rock – but it is the people (a grand total of 4000 odd) that make this island so special and a place to come back to.
The first thing you have got to get over is that everyone, and I mean everyone speaks like a pirate:
“How ya doin me Daarlin – you well???”
And when they ask you How ya doin me Daarlin – you well???? They are actually asking you because they are interested, they want to know how you are, how are you doing and it is not just lips moving. The all call each other me Daarlin because you get the feeling they really dig each other and are one big happy family.
One of the most respected okes in town is Buffalo – what does he do for a living – he is the supervisor of the local swimming pool (and yes they have one – 33 meters long and 6 lanes), there is Mike the only person on St Helena without a passport, legend has it he is a wanted man in Sweden and in South Africa, so he came to St Helena and now they cant get rid of him, why – he has no passport. What does a man without a passport do – well, you open the local radio station – and a fine station it is too. I have also heard that he is sorta the local lawyer – he seems to have a lot of hands on experience here. There is Jane who owns Anne’s place – a yachty restaurant legend. There is also Hazel the owner of the beautiful Consulate Hotel. What do all these people have in common – they all work bloody hard and make good lives for themselves and their families – they are respected.
One of my favourite things about Jamestown is the Public amenities, right on the waters edge, and believe me Jamestown has limited waters edge, is the Public Swimming pool, the tennis court, and outdoor hall arrangement, a kiddies playground and loads and loads of wooden outdoor tables and chairs. In the evening everyone goes down to this area and plays tennis, then whoop the tennis court is turned into a volleyball court, then whoop the court is turned into a soccer field, everyone plays young and old. All around and in this area are little restaurants selling extremely well priced meals, cooldrinks, beers and icecreams. There are loads of public toilets, all spotless and respected. The prime spot in this town is there for the community, not the tourist, but, the tourist is more than welcome to come sit and enjoy the best part of Jamestown.
On Friday the town cooks, I went into the local Star (Spar) to get daily supplies and was immediately confused as to why there are loads of people walking around with trolley’s full of bread. I saw one trolley just standing there and thought it was a display, took and loaf out of the trolley and almost got whopped over the head by an irate customer. Bread is in high demand – no bread is baked at all on a Saturday or a Sunday (no questions asked) so people cue for their loaves and stock up for the weekend – no local questions this arrangement – they just deal with it.
The only way anything can get here is via the mailboat, and I mean ANYTHING, mail, food, car parts, gifts and cooldrinks and most of all people – the mailboat comes past every 2 weeks. Veggies are in high demand and are expensive, cokes are cheaper in St Helena than in South Africa, chocolates are very expensive.
The Governer drives his own car, and to get a drivers licence all you have to do is go to the local police station and tell them which car you are driving – it is the incident that gets you in big trouble not whether you have a licence or not. The governor carries his own groceries and boxes – there is no gravy train here.
On Sundays the whole town shuts down – everything – well almost, every pup is doing a roaring trade.
There is Jacobs ladder which I will get to later. Also there are no celphones here – will get to this later.
All in all a happy place and life is good.